An American Girl Civil War dress… almost finished…

I was working hard and fast today hoping to get this Civil War dress finished for the American Girl dolls, but I came up short by just a little bit. The basic part of he dress is finished…all the snaps are sewn on, the hem is done by hand, it’s been pressed, but I haven’t quite figured out the “neckline” accessory. There is still something for her head needed, and probably a crinoline.

[If you click on any of the pictures, they will enlarge.]




I should have styled Saige’s hair just a little bit instead of piling it up on her head, but I was messing with the back of the collar and had my pictures snapped before I realized it. Oh well, it will just be a pleasant surprise when you see her all dolled up in the final pictures.


When I found this button in my stash I thought it went well with the fabric…and it did, but as I have a pin holding it up to the collar, it seems too big and too fancy…too “rhinestony” to me.


I’ve tried these other things and haven’t made up my mind yet. I’m going to sleep on it and see what I think in the morning.

This is a little cameo I could use as a brooch…


I found a little brass bow charm that sort of looks okay….


Here is another charm that has some jewels in it…


Then I found a piece of very thin aqua fabric that I could make a fringed scarf out of. It’s not the right size, but just a snippet of the fabric pinned on the front.


…and then with that charm on top of it…


SEW….does anyone have any thoughts???

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. I like the last idea with a scarf and the charm on top. It makes the charm stand out more. 🙂

    • I like the cameo. It is suitable for the age the dress is meant to represent. A thin black ribbon with no bow to “tie” it. I like to put snaps on the ribbon to attach at the neck or under the collar. Save the Bow in a basic color for a big one to adorn the back of her hair.

      • Jeanne W says:

        HI April,
        Like I just told Christine, you got part of it right too… I like to have interchangeable things too, but decided on just one this time…
        I hope you like what I wound up doing…
        Blessings, Jeanne

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Christine,
      Well, I won’t give it all away, but you got part of it right…check back in tomorrow to see
      what I used.
      Thanks for your comments…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Maureen says:

    Jeanne —

    Love the colors!

    How about a smaller bit of the turquoise on the neck, then rough cut out a circle of the flower leaving a bit of the blue at the edge, stiffen it a bit or not depends on the fabric, then slightly gather the center with a few beads of the center color?

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Maureen,
      Well, I’m giving enough hints on my comments back to all of you, you might be able to figure it out what I did before you even see it tomorrow. You got part of it right…
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Linda Doyle says:

    Jeanne, what a cute dress! I personally like the cameo pin. Of course, I can’t really see the outfit the way you do in real life, maybe the sparkle of the other pins is very pretty, but I do like that cameo! What if you put a scarf thing behind the cameo, not necessarily the same color, or maybe a wide ribbon? I can’t really tell what the background is for the cameo, so can’t really say what color would look best, but like Christine says, the scarf makes the pin stand out more on the dress.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Linda,
      Well, you are HOT on your guessing… you’ll have to wait and see though…
      Have a wonderful day till tomorrow,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Whatever you choose, I would say keep it simple. Cameo or locket with a snip of loved one’s hair.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Thanks Joy,
      It is pretty simple…especially important since the fabric print is so busy…
      Check back tomorrow to see the final reveal…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. The charm shows up much better with the scarf under it. Without the scarf it gets lost in the print. I also like the cameo, it’s more from that era I think, but a little small, do you have a larger one? Joy’s suggestion of a locket is good, too., but that print is so bold I think you might have to put some fabric behind whatever you use to keep it from getting lost in the print.
    I think buyers probably don’t think about whether the ‘pin’ goes with the era, just how it looks. I’m really not a rhinestone person.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Jevne,
      I like the way you think things through…sort of the way I do…
      You can see how close you are to guessing right tomorrow.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Good Morning,
    She looks so happy in the bright colors! Hummmm I like the Cameo best…I have my grandmothers in a deep frame with a picture of her wearing it… A real family treasure. tr

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Kathie,
      So you like the cameo best… you might be right…check back tomorrow.
      How neat that you have a picture of your grandmother wearing a cameo…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Hi Jeanne. Sew…I’m not really educated in what was worn during the Civil War era, but what looks nice (to me) is the cameo and a bit of blue at the neck.

    Your dresses are always “sew” perfectly fitted and constructed, it’s just beautiful. I love Saige modeling it too; her hair and eye color really pop next to these colors.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Cindy,
      You and Linda are the HOTTEST guessers…Jevne is a close 2nd…
      Thanks so much for your kind words about my dresses… I truly appreciate them.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. The process of developing the creation of your doll clothes is very interesting.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Jan,
      Sometimes it seems like a very long process… but I always am happy in the end.
      I hope you’ll check in tomorrow to see the final choice for her neckline “accessory.”
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Jeannie B. in TX says:

    Jeanne, it sounds like you have made you decision as to what you will use for the neckline adornment. I look forward to seeing the end result. I will say that I really like the fabric choices for this dress. Nice and bright. I would say that this is might be considered to be a nice day dress for the era. Maybe something for going to town to shop or visit with the ladies. Not a stay at home, clean and cook dress nor a party dress for a dance type occasion. I really like it.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Jeannie,
      I did make a decision and I think it was the best one! I was thinking of calling it a Walking Dress…like you say, something that would be worn to go to town in, or to a tea, or a ladies luncheon…
      I hope you like the finished look….
      Blessings, Jeanne

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